Operation Trent was the East Midlands Special Operations Unit (EMSOU) investigation into an organised crime group suspected of large-scale drug supply across Leicestershire. The gang were using a dedicated phone line in the sale and distribution of class A drugs. EMSOU used Chorus Analyse and Investigate in a coordinated approach to bring 25 members to justice with over 160 years total sentencing.
Chorus Investigate was pivotal in providing the investigators with an efficient assessment of the call data, identifying co-locations and common numbers though use of the entity directory. The attribution points identified with Investigate will no doubt have helped in securing the early pleas.
DC Traynor - East Midlands Special Operations Unit
In January 2018, officers became aware that the gang had a dedicated ‘dealer’ line manned by gang ringleaders, Mayat and Khan. The phone line was used by ‘customers’ looking to buy drugs. These customers would be dealers in their own right and eventually sell the drugs at street level.
Once an order was placed with the dealer, they would use a separate mobile phone to contact one of the runners who would be sent to see the customer and exchange drugs for cash.
Drugs were bought in kilos at a time from Manchester and Sheffield. They were brought to Leicester and cut and packaged at two safe houses before being distributed further.
The evidence included surveillance, call data records, mobile phone downloads and production orders totalling over 1.3 million rows.
Call data, text messages and phone downloads were loaded into Chorus Investigate. Easily identifying co-locations and common numbers using the entity directory report and aiding the attribution of devices.
A burner phone was recovered from a key subject and the device data downloaded and imported into Investigate alongside call data. Chorus Investigate combined the messages, contacts, and call data and when exported, provided a combined excel document to illustrate who they were in contact with, message content where recovered, and where they were at the time.
Chorus Investigate was used to process handset downloads and extract all messages with co-defendants and present them in an easy-to-read format
Chorus Analyze was instrumental in using call data records to produce event sequences and maps that clearly identified the pattern of communication between gang members and their location leading up to potential drug deals.
Maps were annotated with key locations and other intelligence that supported EMSOU’s case against the gang.
The case was further supported with potential meeting reports to identify when defendants were meeting up and what happened with each phone number.
The drug line number was crucial to the supply of drugs, each time a dealer was arrested, and that device seized, the drug line would soon be activated again. The Analyst could easily identify this activity in Chorus using SIM and IMEI swap reports and accurately map and record where and when the drug line number was activated using cell site analysis.
Surveillance and known home addresses allowed officers to search properties using warrants. At Mere Road – home address of Abdur Sidat – they recovered a shotgun and live ammunition. Also found was a large quantity of controlled drugs and other drug paraphernalia.
In July 2018, officers searched the Chandos Street safe-house – home of Abdur Limalia – where they recovered a quantity of drugs.
As part of the investigation officers searched Bhavin Jivan’s and Jignisha Javin’s car and recovered a kilo of heroin estimated to be worth £17,000 to £23,000.
Attribution of phones and the dealer line was disputed by many of the offenders during the trial. Co-location work between clean and dirty phones was demonstrated using maps and resulted in a change of plea from defendants.
Call volumes showed how busy and lucrative the drugs line was as well as extracted message content between offenders estimating that a kilo of heroin was sold every 5 days. A consideration for sentencing.
Out of the 26 charged 25 pleaded or were found guilty at trial, over 160 years in sentencing.